Skyshield

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This article is about the Swiss SHORAD system. For the North American air defence exercises, see Operation Skyshield. For the Israeli jammer, see Skyshield (jammer).
The complete Skyshield air-defence array w/a SAM module in the back right

Skyshield is a short range air defence system developed by the Swiss corporation Oerlikon Contraves.


Air-defence system[edit]

Skyshield Air-defence system is a modular, light weight, Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) system developed by the Swiss corporation Oerlikon Contraves (now a subsidiary of Rheinmetall of Germany). The successor to the Skyguard defense system, Skyshield is intended to rapidly acquire and destroy threatening aircraft and missiles.

The weapons system itself consists of two 35 mm (1.38 inch) revolver cannons with a rate of fire of 1,000 rounds per minute, a fire control system made up of a sensor unit and a detached command post. The Skyshield can also use up to two surface-to-air missile 8-cell modules for an expanded air defense capability. The Skyshield is designed for traditional anti-aircraft roles in addition to defense against missiles (see anti-ballistic missile).

The Skyshield is easily deployed by trucks and other transportation systems. The fire control system (FCS) uses an X-band search and tracking radar, and another unit for radar/TV and/or laser/FLIR precision tracking. The command post can be placed up to 500 meters, roughly, from the fire control unit (FCU), using encrypted radio-waves. The Skyshield system can also be networked with other air defense systems for wider and more effective air coverage, expanding its roles from point defense to area defense.

A modified and improved version of Skyshield with six fully automated turrets, dubbed MANTIS (Modular, Automatic and Network capable Targeting and Interception System) has been ordered by the German Army as a stationary base defence system. Two systems will be delivered between 2011 and 2012, with more orders being planned as a part of German Army's future "SysFla" air defence program.

South Africa has signed a contract with Rheinmetall to modernise the country's existing short-range air defence (SHORAD) systems, the company announced on 27 March 2014. The contract encompasses the supply of Oerlikon Skyshield fire control units, which will substantially improve the performance and accuracy of South Africa’s current twin-gun systems as well as significantly expanding the operational spectrum of its air defence capabilities. South Africa currently operates 102 GDF-002 and 48 modified GDF-005 units. In this context, a number of the twin-gun systems will also be retrofitted with upgrade kits to accommodate Rheinmetall’s state-of-the-art AHEAD Anti-missile ammunition including logistics and training services, the complete package is scheduled for completion by 2017.

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